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Where to take my wife for her birthday dinner

My wife is a frequent chow hound visitor/contributor, she always knows the best, newest spots in the area. I just follow along...
I would like to find someplace new ( to us ), to dazzle her for her birthday. Good food, a destination rather than a neighbourhood restaurant. I am willing to travel around the bay area, but SF or Oakland/Berkeley are the closest.
Any one have any thoughts?

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  1. It would help considerably to know where you have been before that you have liked so as to not waste your time making recs that are old news.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Carrie 218

      A Cote
      Oliveto
      Chez panisse
      Eccolo
      Flora
      Maritime east
      Rivoli
      Wood Tavern
      Scala's Bisto
      Canteen
      Sociale
      Slanted Door
      Fifth Floor
      Bistro Jeanty
      Jeanty at Jack's
      Boulevard
      Quince
      Martini House
      Bar Tartine
      Perbacco
      Kokkari
      Piperade

    2. I agree -- can you give us something more to work with besides "any destination restaurant" in either Oakland or SF?

      1. Have you been to all of these?

        A Cote
        Adagia
        Chez Panisse
        Eccolo
        Flora
        Jojo
        Maritime East
        Oliveto
        Rivoli
        Wood Tavern

          1. re: rworange

            I had a great dinner there. Loved it. :-}

          2. It's certainly not "new" by any definition, but Masa's is in my opinion one of the best dining experiences in the City. I took my partner there for his birthday last October, and upon leaving he announced, "That's my favorite restaurant." We've had two outstanding meals there in the last year.

            Other good options that aren't on your list:

            Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton
            Zuni Cafe
            Spruce

            5 Replies
            1. re: foodiesf

              Here are the links:

              -----
              Zuni Cafe
              1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

              Spruce
              3640 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94118

              The Terrace at the Ritz-Carlton
              600 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108

              Masa's Restaurant
              648 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

              1. re: foodiesf

                I think I must be one of the very few not blown away by Masa.At least the one in NYC. It was lovely and the service was outstanding, but it was sort of... I don't know... monotonous after a while. I guess at those prices, they have to keep going and going, but I'd much rather settle in at Per Se. Hey! Maybe the OP can fly in to NYC for dinner. Now THAT would be a great Birthday dinner! :-}

                1. re: Tay

                  Masa's in SF is completely unrelated to Masa in NYC. Masa's in SF began w/ chef Masataka Kobayashi (I had my 21st birthday there a few months before he was murdered), and was also the home of Julian Serrano and Ron Siegel. It has always been high end French, though it took on a Japanese accent under Siegel, who was fascinated by that cuisine after his Iron Chef victory. Masa in NYC is the current restaurant of Masa Takayama, who used to preside over his high end sushi temple in a little strip mall on Rodeo Drive.

                  And if the OP's wife is anything like me, she'd be extra jazzed to have her birthday dinner at Ubuntu, Manresa, or Coi (if the others are too far to drive). At least those are the places I'm pondering for #45.

                  1. re: Tay

                    The Masa is different,the menu is different and the price is very, very different.

                    1. re: wolfe

                      lex and wolfe
                      Ahhhhh... So that's it!
                      I'm very glad you both cleared that up for me. After dropping $400+ PP for dinner at NYC's Masa, I'd be very reluctant to recc to anyone.
                      I'll have to put SF's Masa on my Left Coast List. :-}
                      Much thanks!